Antibiotics on farms : a scientist’s opinion
In the Netherlands we saw a clear drop of resistance levels in healthy animals after the use of drugs on farms has been cut
Interview with Prof. Jaap Wagenaar, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Utrecht University
Will the new EU-Regulation on Veterinary Medical Products lead to a reduction of antibiotics usage on farms – what should have been stressed more ?
Jaap Wagenaar: Proper criteria to scrutinize the new regulation are the five pillars of the WHO Global Action Plan on the fight against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) to antibiotics. Many of these requirements seem to be recognized with the new legislation. However, we still might see a lack in the field of “Creating Awareness”. Although it might be questionable if education should be part of an EU-regulation on Veterinary Medical Products, this education element is important for graduates as well as for post-graduates and for practitioners.
Is there any evidence that reduced drug levels lead to less resistances in farm animals ?
Jaap Wagenaar: Some European countries have pre-empted the new EU measures in their national laws already. For example, in the Netherlands practices have changed considerably ten years ago. Since then antimicrobials usage in animals have been cut by 64 %. As a consequence, we saw a clear drop in antimicrobial resistance levels in the national surveillance in healthy animals as performed according to the EFSA.
Could a reduction of AMR in human pathogens also be measured ?
Jaap Wagenaar: It`s difficult to get a clear picture, because measuring influences on resistance in human pathogens are biased due to the way of collecting samples. Most of the samples are from humans that have been treated or hospitalized.
In the EU- research project “EFFORT” the routes of resistant bacteria from the farms to the kitchen tables have been traced. Can you tell us something about the main pathways ?
Jaap Wagenaar: The project has collected a huge amount of data about this topic, and we are currently working on the conclusions and the key messages of the research project. The final EFFORT conference will be held from 26th to 28th November 2018 in Utrecht, the Netherlands. There we will transfer the key messages to answer your question.
Bio-Express: Prof. Jaap A. Wagenaar is a veterinarian. Since 2006 he helds the chair of Clinical Infectiology at the Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Utrecht University. Being member of numerous (inter) national committees to fight AMR, he is involved in the program in the Netherlands, and he is also advisor to the WHO and FAO on these topics. Professor Wagenaar declares no conflict of interest in connection to the topic he is giving his opinion.